Jack Sommers – Police Oracle
Dorset Police has denied it has reduced the number of officers policing the Olympic sailing events because it has attracted fewer spectators than hoped.
The force has 150 of its own officers policing the operation and roughly 250 officers deployed under mutual aid arrangements at the events.
The BBC reported officers were “redirected” from the Olympic duties and quoted ACC Adrian Whiting saying they “simply weren’t needed”.
But a force spokesman said this was not true, adding the number of spectators at the event in Weymouth and Portland did not affect the numbers committed to policing it.
He said the force’s own officers policing the Olympics and Paralympics were available to deal with other crimes and incidents that might arise. The low spectator numbers at the events may have made this more likely, he added.
The spokesman said: “The safety and security operation in Weymouth and Portland is a major one, a significant part of which is not dependant on crowd numbers, but rather on the need to effectively police a large venue, the Olympic Village, and the coastal waters.
“For example nearly one third of our officers are allocated to policing the sea around Weymouth and Portland.
“We are constantly reviewing our activities to ensure we remain as flexible as necessary, while ensuring we have the necessary capacity and capability to respond to any operational challenge, issue or incident we may face.
“Where the opportunity has arisen, we have utilised our Dorset officers in undertaking other local policing activities in the area, but first and foremost we must maintain our operational resilience and response capability.
“We are doing that with the excellent support of our mutual aid officers, all of whom continue to undertake their designated duties.”